UNHCR Innovation Service has announced the continuation of its Digital Inclusion Call for Proposals that provides targeted financial support to country operations interested in tackling specific challenges relating to Digital Inclusion in 2021.
Working with community-based social media influencers has the potential to strengthen UNHCR’s ability to build trust in a community by working to support community-led content creation, sharing and response to community engagements. However, working with social-media influencers is not without its challenges – often relating to selection, due diligence, the risk of reinforcing entrenched inequalities through stereotypes and the exclusion of minority voices.
At a global level, the Division of External Relations has also developed significant experience engaging with influencers online – from those with thousands of followers to ‘nanos’. This knowledge is being fed into the development of a toolkit to support UNHCR operations with their influencer engagement.
While initially this engagement focused on External Relations – including through Private Sector Partnerships – a number of UNHCR operations have started to engage with such nano influencers to strengthen Community Based Protection Approaches. These initiatives include engaging ‘nanos’ at a national or more local level i.e. within a specific settlement/camp, generating creative and engaging content for diverse audiences.
Scope and Objectives
- In the offline world, identification of ‘community representatives’ and community stakeholders usually follows extensive mapping/assessment and transparent selection processes. These mapping processes aim to identify stakeholders from across the diversify of a community – ensuring focal points are identified to represent the most marginalized groups.
- Community stakeholders are often supported with capacity and skills building and equipped with ‘toolkits’ to support them with their community engagement. Often training covers protection issues, referral, specific topics (i.e. public health, education) – this includes regular refresher training sessions. Engagement between key community focal points, partners and UNHCR is frequent – often daily.
- This experience can be translated online, as UNHCR’s community based protection strategies embrace online communities. There are of course some caveats to the direct translation of Community Based approaches online, which will require oversight and monitoring. Nonetheless, similar strategies of identification of individuals (ensuring AGD representation and inclusivity) as well as capacity building and mentoring can be adopted.
- Supporting community stakeholders in the online world would include capacity building on key social media concepts linked to source verification, information validation, data protection, privacy, expectation management. It could also extend to content creation – covering topics linked to the use of audio-visual content, inclusive design, recognition of personal/content bias, and user-testing modalities. It would also include how to support influencers to recognize and appropriately refer protection concerns flagged via their networks or directly.
- This will depend on the specific challenge but generally they are unable to provide more than USD 50,000 to ensure that a number of different country operations can benefit from the available support.
- Only UNHCR country operations are able to apply to the challenge and one submission is accepted per operation. This Expression of Interest should command the support of senior management within the operation.
For the Call for Proposals, awarding of funds will be based on the following criteria equally weighted:
- Challenge: Framing of the Challenge and evidence / data to support it with a key focus on inclusive community engagement, leadership and feedback response.
- Solution: Articulation of the solution in context addressing key aspects covered in the background notes. Specific attention will be give to proposed levels of community engagement / meaningful participation considering diversity and inclusion.
- Impact: Potential Impact of the solution in not only in terms of the number of community members supported, but also how the intervention would affect them in their daily lives and build broader community resilience.
- Feasibility: Based on approach, administration, tentative budget a determination on how viable the project will be. Specific consideration will be given to sustainability strategies including community self-management.
For more information, visit https://www.unhcr.org/innovation/digital-inclusion-call/